Maria Arini Lopez, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMTPT, CIMT


July 12,  2023


Fossil records suggest that close ancestors of the cannabis plant existed around 34 million years ago. Initially identified in central China, cannabis is thought to have been one of the first cultivated crops from which hemp was used to make rope, paper, and clothing.The cannabis plant was also used as food. Seeds from the plant were made into oil, and certain parts of the plant were used to make psychotropic drugs.

Archaeologists Yang Yimin and Ren Meng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing found clear physical evidence of the inhalation of cannabis high in concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in wooden braziers by mourners in a 2500-year-old cemetery in the Pamir Mountains in western China.

Cannabis seeds migrated along with nomadic people as a means of trade, leading to the cultivation of cannabis all over the planet. Most languages throughout Eurasia have a designated term for cannabis: “hemp” in English, “Hanf” in German, “κάνναβις” in Greek, “cannabis” in Latin, “canapa” in Italian, “konoplja” in Russian, “qunnab” in Arabic, “kendir” in Turkish, and “kanap’is” in Georgian.

Eventually, the cannabis plant reached Africa and the Americas with the explorers and colonists. In 1492, Christopher Columbus reportedly transported cannabis in the form of hemp ropes when he explored the Americas. Louis Hébert, a French apothecary, first cultivated the cannabis plant in 1606 in Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia).